"Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug."
Miami's play-by-play guy Steve Baker said it perfectly towards the end of Wednesday night's game that saw the RedHawks (9-15, 5-8 MAC) lose at home to Kent State (15-11, 6-7 MAC) by a score of 75-63.
The Golden Flashes, one of the best three-point shooting teams in the MAC, shot 58 percent from that distance, making 15-of-26. Junior Kris Brewer had one of the best nights of his career, tying his single-game best with 28 points while making all seven 3-pointers he attempted.
Both Kent State and Miami started off the night offensively challenged, going a combined two for 12 from the field before the first media timeout. The Flashes found their stroke, however, knocking down their next three shots, all from behind the arc, putting the score at 11-6 in their favor. Their lead reached its highest at the 6:10 mark when a three from Brewer, his third of the half, put them up by 10, 21-11.
The game could have easily spun out of control at this point, especially the way Kent State was getting to the basket and the way Miami was failing to take care of the ball. Will Sullivan, however, helped spark an 8-0 run to pull the RedHawks within three, scoring five points and notching a steal that started a breakaway. This really was a pivotal moment in the game, and having Sullivan step up for a little 90 second stretch did wonders for Miami; it entered halftime down by just six, 28-22. Honestly, the RedHawks were fortunate to be down by just six, considering Kent State was making 3-pointers at a 50 percent clip.
That good fortune didn't last long for the RedHawks as they found themselves down by 16 points barely five minutes into the second half. Kent State just could not miss from behind the arc, going six for eight to start the half and giving itself a 52-34 lead with just over 12:00 remaining. To put the Golden Flashes' dominance from long range in perspective, at this point they had made the same amount of threes as Miami had total field goals.
Kent State's lead eventually ballooned to 22 after a three from Devareaux Manley and, despite a late surge from the RedHawks, the visitors came away with a 75-63 victory.
Brewer and Manley really carried their squad tonight, scoring a combined 43 points off the bench: 28 and 15 points, respectively. Miami's Will Felder had a strong statistical night, notching 23 points for his fourth 20-point game of the season. Geovonie McKnight and Willie Moore also reached double-digits in points for Miami.
Despite the outcome and the at-times large deficits, the RedHawks really didn't have that bad of a night. They shot slightly better than normal from the field and dominated Kent State on free throw attempts (28-7) showing a willingness, and ability, to get the ball to the hoop. They also won the turnover battle, though just barely, and coach John Cooper's full-court press seemed to give the Flashes a little trouble in the second half.
Sometimes, however, it's just not your night, and that's what Miami had Wednesday night. If a few of those threes don't drop and Miami converts a few missed opportunities around the basket this game is completely different.
As it stands, though, the RedHawks head into their next game against Bowling Green as losers of six of the past seven. Their five remaining games are all against East division opponents, however, so if they can right the ship they can really do some climbing up the standings.
Kent State has now won three games in a row and looks to make that four against first-place Buffalo this Saturday, followed by a trip to Bowling Green.